1936 Austin Seven RTC Special
One of the first RTC specials built; Phoenix crank; Pigsty cam; potential VSCC competitor
Back in the 1950s, cars were scarce and expensive – even second hand. For many, the only route to a bit of glamour was to build your own, many taking shape around the ubiquitous Austin 7.
Thanks to its simple chassis and plentiful supply, a whole industry evolved, selling ‘off the peg’ bodies which would transform your rusty £5 Austin into a ‘lookalike’ pre-war MG, or thanks to the new craze in fibreglass, a mini Frazer-Nash Sebring – well from a distance anyway...
The supply of new bodies has continued, Keith Roach taking over manufacture of ‘RTC’ bodies in the 1990s from Ted Taylor. Offering a range of two- or four-seater alternatives, they are all both well made and well proportioned.
This body appears to have been one of the first RTC bodies - (number 4?) and dates from 1987. It is particularly unusual in that it features doors – an option at the time but which probably makes it unique as the option was soon dropped due to the added complication of manufacture. It also has a different rear built to special order.
This car is a 2+2 and being on a later chassis with rear extensions, is capable of carrying kids or luggage in useful quantities.
The wings are nicely flared and the RTC comes with a hood, tonneau and hood bag. It also has a set of nice ‘RTC’ hubcaps fitted and comes with a VSCC buff form, which although not transferable, indicates its suitability for future club activity.
The body was put onto the rolling chassis in the late 1980s by a gentleman in Herefordshire, who completed the car, selling it to a chap in Blackpool. He subsequently sold it in 1997 before our vendor acquired it through The Vintage Petrol Pump Garage in 2018.
Details on file tell us that it has semi-Girling brakes fitted all round and the engine has been fitted with a 1 5/16” Phoenix splash-fed crank. There is a lightened flywheel and Pigsty trials camshaft with re-profiled followers which should give it nice torque. There are hardened exhaust valve seats, polished ports and an uprated oil pump, deep alloy sump and modern lip seals. It uses a Bosch dizzy, SU carb and Raeburn inlet manifold over a four-branch exhaust – the usual stuff but all essential if you want to make an Austin go well.
The four-speed gearbox has Nippy ratios and there is a well stocked dash of instruments.
The vendor was attracted to the car because of the doors – he is not as nimble as he used to be and had intended to try his hand at some club racing. Sadly the moment has passed and he is downsizing his collection hence the Austin is up for grabs.
His loss is your gain, so this is an excellent opportunity to grab a VSCC trials machine (or race car) with potential.
For more information – contact [email protected]
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